Album review: BLack on BLonde

Carli Berry, Contributor Ω

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Image courtesy EMI Music Canada and Loyalist Recordings.

Toronto-based hip-hop artist k-os is back with his first official album since 2010. Released on Jan. 29, BLack On BLonde is a massive album containing 20 tracks on two discs.

The first part is titled BLack and second is BLonde, hence the name BLack On BLonde.  It features many well-known Canadian artists such as Emily Haines (from Metric), Sam Roberts and Corey Harte whom all do fantastic jobs contributing to the soulful mix that is the sound of k-os.

You may know his hits from previous albums, like “I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman” and “Crabbuckit” and be assured that this album contains the same k-os qualities.

The BLack side of the album focuses more on hip hop and contains more rap, while the BLonde side features the first release off the album, “The Dog Is Mine” and contains more of a rock feeling with k-os laying down some licks on his guitar.

Well-known for his hip-hop/rock style blend of music, k-os has decided to bring something new to the table with BLack On BLonde, an incorporation of pop. One of the main hits, “NYCE 2 Know Ya” is almost cliché with its upbeat techno feel and lyrics telling the story of an ex-girlfriend. But it’s oh so catchy and it works with the pace of the album.

Ex-girlfriends are not the only things k-os discusses in the album. In “Put Down Your Phone” he places heavy emphasis on how cell phones have become an addiction in our society. At Rdio.com k-os wrote commentary about the tracks of BLack On BLonde, stating that the song “Surf’s Up” was written collaboratively with a friend and references the BP oil spill that occurred in 2010.

Overall, the album provides a fresh sound that incorporates many different genres. k-os continues to show his skills at refraining from typical hip hop and instead provides us with a unique blend of hip hop, rap, rock and a little pop. He has come a long way from being barely recognised as an artist to a mainstream Canadian act whose album arrives at seventh on the iTunes charts. The recognition is rightfully deserved; a solid four out of five stars for keeping the sound of BLack On BLonde original.